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Anti-gay bullying condemned

SANTA FE – The Doña Ana County Democratic delegation of the New Mexico House of Representatives released a statement Tuesday in response to reports of an anti-gay attack at Zia Middle School in Las Cruces.

The fight, partly captured on a mobile phone video posted to social media, took place last week. The family of Savannah Tirre, 11, a sixth-grader at the school, identified her as the target of an attack by another student and said it followed months of bullying that have followed Tirre’s disclosure that she is gay.

The legislators’ statement reads:

“The anti-gay attack that unfolded … at Zia Middle School runs contrary to our values as New Mexicans. LGBTQ students like Savannah deserve a safe and welcoming place where they can learn in peace and live as their authentic selves. We honor Savannah’s courage and bravery. As your representatives, we stand against bigotry and violence in all forms. We stand with Savannah.”

The Doña Ana County Democratic delegation includes Representatives Doreen Y. Gallegos, Angelica Rubio, Nathan Small, Joanne Ferrary, Willie Madrid, Raymundo “Ray” Lara, Micaela Lara Cadena, and Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez.

Cadena, D-Mesilla, whose district includes Zia Middle School, released a statement of her own:

“I am heartbroken to hear the news out of Zia Middle School, where a student was bullied and attacked on the basis of being LGBTQ. Every student deserves to feel safe and welcome at their place of learning and across our communities. I am especially outraged with adults on social media that have been part of instigating this ugliness. Savannah is brave for making the decision to live her life out loud and on her own terms. We can and must do more to protect our young people from discrimination and targeted violence, in schools and wherever they may be. As a mama and New Mexican, I am ready to walk next to Savannah and her family as we create the loving world all our kids deserve.”

In a news release, Cadena said she had made contact with the student’s mother, Chelsea Tirre, “listening to their story and concerns, and committing to creating a better future for our kids.”

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